Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Impromptu emails were sent on Monday, and a group assembled for a Mardi Gras celebration.  We agreed to meet at Grinders for food and drink, and to enjoy the parade.  After work Tuesday, I went toward the costume shop, only to find that it had closed minutes prior.  I got a call from Scott, and I agreed to give him a ride, since I was in the neighborhood.  He kindly loaned me a costume.  Once at Grinders, I talked to the proprietor, Stretch, who is opening an outdoor concert venue in the lot which houses some of his giant steel and glass sculptures.  I had seen Buddhist monks performing traditional Chinese music on the stage out there during a First Friday event, but there was a punk rock band set up at the same time at the alternative bookstore around the corner.  The music clashed somewhat.  Stretch called it Punks 'n Monks.  Anyway, Stretch indicated that he would be driving the giant crawfish float which I saw out on the street.  Pizza, beer, and costumed partiers made for a good time.  After we were fed, we moved down 18th Street to the street party in front of YJ's.  I donned a beer bottle costume and danced in YJ's to some zydeco style music, ate some dirty rice, and followed the parade back to Grinders.  Some fireworks went off when the parade rolled, and we danced along the street to The Dirty Force Marching Band [video] and along the way the cops arrived.  I assume there was no permit for the parade.  After some time passed and, I presume, the appropriate citations were issued, the parade continued with a police escort.  We went back into Grinders and ate a "big ass tots" and a round of drinks.  Everyone disbursed from there, but Scott and I went to a club to chill out.  Then I dropped him off in front of his building and I went to the afterparty at The Mutual Musicians Foundation.  There was phenomenal jazz and funk music.  That ended promptly at midnight, and I went home.  It was a fun time, as it was last year.

On a less exciting note, the company newsletter comes once a week in email and includes fun stuff, including auctions and raffles to liquidate old office equipment, a salsa cook-off, secret pal gift exchanges, etc.  One of the items was The President's Challenge.  It is a means to earn points online for physical activity. In 10 days, I earned 3600 points.  You get about 100 points just for walking for 30 minutes.  Playing hockey for an hour is 460 points.  I find it to be a good diversion for mental breaks during the day, encourages some retrospection, and helps track whether I got enough exercise.  I am in the 89th percentile for logged activity among my coworkers who participate and log their activity.  I think if I were more honest about how hard I go when I'm not sitting at my desk, I might be the most active person participating.  If I'm not playing hockey, I'm lifting weights, or skating, or dancing, or at least walking.  When you see it in black and white, it's easy to pinpoint the lazy days.

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